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Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

You can make it easy and go to your local Christmas tree lot for your tree this year. It sure would be quicker. But no, tradition calls on you to take a trek out to a Christmas tree farm or two, where the perfect tree awaits your discovery. After all, Christmas is just not Christmas without this tradition.

Here's the steps to finding the freshest and most beautiful tree your family has ever had.

Know Your Room Dimensions

Before you go, use a tape measure to determine the height from floor to ceiling. Then, subtract for the tree topper and the stand. Next, measure the approximate width that will fit where you want the tree to go. This is especially important, in corners and high traffic areas. Finally, measure the diameter of the tree stand opening, to assure the tree will fit.

Fresh or Pre-Cut

Many people are perfectly content to buy their tree from a tree lot. Although the tree will not be as fresh as a newly cut tree, you save time and effort. Frankly, some people just don't have a lot of extra time during the holiday season, to be out in the cold in search of a tree. To many other people, going to a tree farm and searching for the perfect tree through the cold and snowy field, is a time-honored tradition not be skipped.

You should also determine the variety of Christmas tree you want to get. See: Varieties of Christmas trees.

Did You Know? Most trees bought at the local Christmas tree lot, were cut down 3-4 weeks, before arriving at the lot.

Pick the Day and Dress for the Weather

The peak time for Christmas tree shopping, is from the week before Thanksgiving to the week after. If you go later, the tree will be fresher, but many of the best ones might already be gone.

Pick the day that fits your schedule, check the weather forecast, and dress in layers. It's far better to be overdressed, than to shiver out in the cold.

Necessary Tools

You will need to bring:

  • Measuring tape - to measure the height and width of the tree.

  • Rope - to tie the tree to your vehicle's rooftop, or to the bed of your truck.

  • Saw - unless you plan to dig the tree out of the frozen ground like Clark Griswald, you need to have a saw.

Selecting the Perfect Tree

Upon arrival to the Christmas Tree Farm, the search begins in earnest.

Despite the cold and snow, take your time in selecting a tree. Look at it from all angles. It's important to examine the trunk, to see if it is straight.

Check the diameter of the trunk, to make sure it fits the stand.

Check the Tree for Health and Freshness

Once you find the tree with the right height, width and look, it's time to check it out before cutting it down.

  • Grab a branch and pull your hand towards you. If a lot of needles fall off, continue your search.

  • Take off a few needles and crush them between your fingers, to see if it gives off a strong, pleasant scent.

  • Shake the tree, to see if a lot of needles fall off. If you are at a tree lot, lift the tree a couple feet in the air and drop it, to see if a lot of needles fall out.

  • Finally, inspect the tree for insects.

  • Satisfied that you have found the perfect tree in every way, cut it down and bring it home.

.Ps Somewhere along the way, it is absolutely essential to get a cup of hot chocolate for everyone who participates in the excursion. This is the single most important part of the tradition.

Home Set Up and Care

If you are not going to put up the tree right away, store the tree in the garage, with the trunk in a bucket of warm water.

Immediately before setting it up indoors, make a fresh 1 inch cut of the end of the trunk.

DO NOT trim off bark of the trunk, to make it fit your existing stand. This will cut off the veins that uptake water to the tree, causing it to dry out quickly.

Put the tree into the stand. Tighten and adjust the prongs so they are tight against the trunk, and that the tree is straight. Examine the tree from all angles prior to lighting and decorating.

Immediately add water, and check the level daily. DO NOT let the basin dry out. Refill as needed.



Also see: Selecting the Perfect Christmas Tree

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